Forget everything you’ve heard about running clubs. There’s a fun bunch of running groups in London now, making their own rules, flying through the capital’s streets in colourful flocks and showing us how there’s power in numbers (and we're not talking Strava mileage, either).
So if you’re bored of plugging in your headphones and plodding off on your tod, why not meet runners who are going at your pace? We’ve rounded up the best crews to roll with, whether you're a newbie or a marathon master. Just lace up, do your stretches like your PE teacher taught you, and hit the streets with your new cardio crew.
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Running groups in London
Run Dem Crew likes to run, travel, party and repeat, which probably explains why there are over 500 members and counting. Plus, the founder is Charlie Dark, a renowned DJ, poet and writer who launched RDC in 2007 with a plan to roll music culture, running, youth mentoring and community all into one awesome movement. So far, so good – and the crew has now gone from a Tuesday night run in Shoreditch to sessions in Bank, Old Street and Stratford with Gymbox.
How to join: Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
Despite the name, this fun community of city fitties usually tear through town at more respectful evening hours, armed with music systems so they can party on the move. But it's not just their big choons that's the draw. The Midnight Runners do a free music-fuelled 'bootcamp run' in Central London on Tuesdays, and once in a while, they get together for a weekend run followed by an after-party at 1am. Because, why not?
How to join: Just show up to their events listed on their Facebook page.
If you dream of clocking up faster splits, you might like TrackMafia – a free weekly session led by a group of fun-loving speedsters every Thursday at Paddington Recreation Ground.
The aim of the game is to stick to a four-week training cycle to whittle down your pace – but even if you can only make a couple of meet-ups every month, it's totally worth it for the chance to run like the wind.
How to join: Email email@example.com or turn up ready to Paddington Recreation Ground at 6.30pm for 7pm.
This kick-arse community aims to get more women involved in endurance racing and they’re doing a brilliant job so far. After becoming the female winner in the 2014 Race to the Stones ultra-marathon, founder Sorrell Walsh changed the male-to-female ratio of participants in the 2015 race from 80:20 to 61:39. WMNRUN sessions are free, twice-weekly in London and usually start at central Tube stations.
How to join: Visit their website for a list of their upcoming runs or join the private Facebook group for more info.
Lovers of the great outdoors, meet your new posse. Never Stop London is an adventurous community made up of climbers, snowboarders, skiers, and trail runners – basically, anyone who’s ever shopped at the North Face store on Regent Street, where they meet on Tuesday nights. Green Park is their usual stomping ground for their training seshes, but they also throw in monthly social events like indoor bouldering or out-of-town hikes, climbs or trail runs. Bear Grylls would be proud.
How to join: Find out more at facebook.com/neverstoplondon.
This running club welcomes LGBT+ and gay-friendly people from across the spectrum. London Frontrunners hit the streets four times a week for routes ranging from a (relatively) leisurely two miles to a hamstrung-taxing 8.5 miles. All their routes begin in central locations like Hyde Park and the South Bank – and they enjoy fun as much as runs. Last one to Old Compton Street buys the first round...
How to join: Visit the website for full details.
If you find running for the bus a struggle, Lazy Girl Running could be for you. Qualified coach Laura Fountain leads women-only groups of beginners and improvers around Finsbury Park, Hampstead Heath and Tottenham with a focus on friendliness and camaraderie. In this group, no one's going to judge you if you get a stitch, or attempt to fake one. And don't worry – you can go straight back to bed afterwards.
How to join: Visit the website for more details.
Looking to roll a little volunteering in with your run? Meet like-minded people and do something for your neighbourhood with a GoodGym event. They match social and environmental odd-jobs up with comfortable 5Ks, with an emphasis on keeping things sociable rather than competitive.
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You're good to go, London
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